Commenting on the advice
of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) against routine Covid vaccination of children outside of higher risk groups, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We understand the reasons for this advice and support the need for caution because of the overriding importance of ensuring that children are not exposed to any risk which outweighs the potential benefit of a vaccine.
“However, this leaves us with the potential for very high numbers of infections among children in the autumn term particularly given the relaxation of wider restrictions in society. This could mean yet more educational disruption as well as causing wider public health concerns.
“It is therefore imperative that the government places an intense focus on supporting schools and colleges with Covid protection measures.
“It must provide suitably trained staff for on-site asymptomatic testing planned at the outset of the autumn term, make funding available for high-quality ventilation systems, ensure its new approach to contact tracing is robust and effective, and clarify contingency arrangements in the event of local outbreaks.
“The constant vagueness and confusion of its guidance and the virtual non-existence of material support for schools and colleges is completely unacceptable and must improve if we are to put an end to educational disruption and ensure that children remain in class.”